Summer Programs

Summer Font Design

Font Design
Instructor: Donald Tarallo
*No Prerequisites, Open to all levels of experience.

Dates: July 8 to 19

Learn font design in Siena! Here you will learn the fundamental secrets needed to make well-designed fonts, sharpen your critical eye toward letter forms, and gain a deep understanding of typography. You will draw on the rich art and cultural resources of the city while working daily in the study with brushes and paint. During these two weeks you will complete a full uppercase font inspired by an artistic, arcthitectural, or cultural aspect of the city. Toward this end students will be engaged in both visual and text-based research in order to make accruately informed design decisions.

Font design is a unique skill for a graphic designer to posess. Beyond understanding how to design a font, this opens opportunities to work on custom logo design as you will be able to draw letters from scratch, thus offering something no one else could have. 

Lectures on the history of typography, Italy’s contribution to the evolution of the Latin alphabet, traditional letterform proportions, and experimental typography will augment the course. A majority of the work will be done off of the computer giving students the rare opportunity to refine their crafts and hand skills. 

The course will be held in a studio with tables and a critique space. There is also access to Macintosh computers.  Students are strongly encouraged to bring their own personal laptop computers.

Students will visit the city archives and museums to see examples of letterforms dating as far back the Etruscans.

During the first two mornings of the course there will be basic Italian language lessons geared toward complete beginners.

This course should meet most university requirements for three credits. Students interested in credit should first check with their university and obtain approval before enrolling. A syllabus is available upon request.

Students who participate in this course should expect to room with classmates or other students at the school. Please contact the school if you have any questions regarding lodging or travel to the school.

Space is limited to 8 students.

Contact time: 65 hours (studio/design time 45, excursions to museums and locations of cultural significance 14, Italian language basics 6)

These hours are divided over weekends and Monday through Friday 9 am to 4 pm.

Example course overview:
Saturday; arrival
Sunday; city and museum visits
Monday to Friday; 9am to 4pm (studio time, city excursions, two Italian classes)
Saturday; museum visits
Sunday; free day
Monday to Friday; 9am to 4pm (studio time)

Cost: 1700 € euros, which is around $2,200 dollars
*This fee only covers tuition and lodging (double rooms with shared bathrooms). Airfare/transportation, food, and materials are not included in this price.

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For more information on the course or the syllabus contact:

For questions about enrollment email Lisa Nonken:

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